Thursday, January 8, 2009

Facebook Redesign + App’s Program = App’s 2.0?

[Article published by Michael Watkins for News Ltd's 'Wires and Lights Blog' on Dec 1st 2008]

Facebook has announced that they will be introducing a ‘Verified App’s Program‘ early in ‘09. Applications will be evaluated on Facebooks three core principals, those being Respect, Transparency and Security. If all these principals are met, the application is deemed ‘Facebook Verified’.

The advantages of being an Facebook verified application will include more visibility in the news feed, higher ranking in the application directory and a big fat green tick next to your app when potential users are reviewing it. All good things.

All good things, if you are willing to pay a price. The price being $US375 a year…. recurring.

There has been a lot of talk regarding this move by Facebook, a lot of it critical. As the markets continue to tank, many see it as a blatant grab for cash, after all a ‘$US15B’ company wont be worth that for much longer in this climate, if it can’t pump out some steady revenue streams. Others claim that open-source on the platform is dead, as developers will have to pay to have their app formally ‘accepted’ by Facebook.

My thoughts are that this move is smart for Facebook and for serious application developers who have a vision to make serious money off the platform. Why?

In unison with the new site redesign, the program will help clear the backlog of useless and annoying app’s that clogged the news feeds which is what makes Facebook so useful
App’s as a whole got a bad wrap from the applications that just wasted your time or plain annoyed you. The new redesign changed all this. People said applications were dead due to the new design. I think they cleared the platform of all the shitty app’s that you don’t want or use and are gearing the platform to make way for credible app’s that actually solve real problems and have real revenue models. The program builds on this thinking and actually asks the real app developers who back themselves with a great idea, to come to the table and put there money where their mouth is.

Serious business ideas can be realized and be credible
In allowing the verified app access to more news feed exposure, notifications, invitations and emails, the program gives serous app developers an elevated platform to work off and the chance to prove that their app can work within a busy, highly exposed environment. Its like a head start, it gives the app more visibility above all the other unverified app’s. Lastly, since the app is officially verified, it will instill more confidence in the user to trust the app and therefore use it more.

It will provide a better user experience for users
With the crap, spammy, annoying app’s out and well built, designed and relevant app’s on the way through, users experience’s will inevitably begin to get better as time goes on.

It will usher in the next generation or ‘Web 2.0’ of app development
This is a big call on my behalf, feel free to abuse me in the comments… But I think we are seeing a small renaissance in application development being kicked off by Facebooks redesign and this program. Think back to Web 1.0, there was a massive rush of sites being created for no real purpose, other than to be seen, then the market died, along with all those websites… Then, technology got better, the masses became more comfortable online and smart people built sites that actually helped people solve real-world problems. The same trend appears to have happened with applications, I think over the last 18 months we’ve seen the rush of app’s that want to be seen. Now with proper guidelines and systems coming into place the platform is being set for a new wave. A wave of smart app’s that actually offer value, create money and solve real problems.

It is going to be fascinating to see how this pan’s out and if Facebook does start making real bucks off it. For now though, if I had built an app that I truly believed in, I would be one of the first to pay that $US375.

If you want to apply to get your app verified, visit here.

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